AOTY 2019

Simple Songs

Jim O'Rourke - Simple Songs
Critic Score
Based on 10 reviews
2015 Ratings: #85 / 772
User Score
Based on 126 ratings
2015 Ratings: #130
May 19, 2015 / Release Date
LP / Format
Drag City / Label
Chamber Pop / Genres
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CRITIC REVIEWS

90
The Line of Best Fit

Simple Songs as a title is a classic O’Rourke curveball – the album’s eight tracks are as complex and intricate as anything he’s has released, with or without vocals.

90
Tiny Mix Tapes

It’s difficult keeping track of everything O’Rourke has a hand in, and Simple Songs works as an antidote for clutching at straws by adding a layer of depth to an otherwise indiscernible character; it offers insight into the workings of a prodigious mind, and it comes off sounding triumphant.

86
Pitchfork

O’Rourke is always clever and funny, but the driving force in his music is the art of the arrangement. Many of the greatest pleasures on Simple Songs come from how certain instruments are layered together, how the chords are voiced and the harmonic progressions unfold.

80
Exclaim!

The songs are lushly dense and about as challenging and exhilarating as pop can be.

80
Paste
While these eight new tunes are more straightforward than much of his work, that is not to suggest they are lacking in intricacy.
75
Consequence of Sound

The songs are mysteriously open, closed off in their approachability, layered in beauty and pain, and collectively serving as a reminder of Jim O’Rourke’s polymath multitudes.

70
American Songwriter

Neither easy listening or abrasive, Simple Songs is the sound of O’Rourke spraying his idiosyncratic fairy dust over a genre he clearly appreciates, albeit through the lenses of his own somewhat eccentric vision.

Doofy
77
What we're dealing with here is typical O'Rourke - deadpan vocals and layered but always obsessively neat highly varied instrumentation.

Arguably his most consistent set of simple songs yet.
CheapandLethal
75
Decent
BonoLightier
78
Solid instrumentation.
daFigz
75
O'Rourke never ceases to remind me of how significant the Chicago sound has become to modern music. The accompaniment by Japanese musicians is also a huge plus! But, with Simple Songs... It's just so god damned hushed I'm afraid I might need to make a Beltone® appointment in order to truly enjoy this music! With this sharing, I'm reminded of just how accomplished O'Rourke truly is in the art of music making. I'll close by saying, like Stuart Campbell, Simple Songs just may be best ... read more
EMR
61
The title may be about simple, direct songs, but if anything, this record is much more centered on complex, multi-faceted compositions than on direct, stripped-down works. In fact, Jim O'Rourke has never been a stripped-down songwriter himself, but instead a very complex and rather enigmatic character, often surprising his fanbase with edgy experiments, intrincately arranged songs and an ever-changing aesthetic value. Even so, he never managed to hide away his passion for jazz, and this may be ... read more
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Decade Lists

#92/Stereogum (2010s)

Track List

  1. Friends With Benefits
  2. That Weekend
  3. Half Life Crisis
  4. Hotel Blue
  5. These Hands
  6. Last Year
  7. End of the Road
  8. All Your Love
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Added on: April 10, 2015